Monday, December 31, 2012

New years eve in Germany

This is how the last three new years eves have gone for me in Germany. I pop down to the local supermarket to buy a few cans of beer around 16:00. I find the supermarket closed. I then start to panic and rush to another supermarket. I find they are all closed. I start to sweat and panic. One year I found that I could buy beer from a shop close to the station. This year they knocked down the shop to do some development work. There is just a big hole.

By the magic of the Internet I now find that the shops usually close about 14:00 on new years eve. Unlike the UK, the shops just assume you know this. Anyway this year I did my shopping in the morning. It was a bit stressful, with the supermarket full of old people pushing shopping trolleys, and moving incredibly slowly. My beer is chilling in the fridge. I doubt that I will drink it tonight because I am going to the void festival.

When I was going into the local Aldi supermarket I saw a couple come out with what looked like
broomsticks. Later in the store I saw that the broom sticks were actually rockets. The other supermarket I went in was also selling fireworks. At midnight there are normally a lot of fire works set off -- now I know where they buy them from.


Winter Pause in Germany and cheating

I was watching Germany TV and they were comparing the length of the winterpause of the football seasons between different nations. The piece was in German, so I probably didn't understand it too well. But what I though they claimed was that in Germany they stop playing football for a month over the Christmas period.

This is of course very different from the Premier league in the UK, when there is no football on Christmas day, but games start up on boxing day. Some people think this is one of the reasons that Germany does better at international football then England, but still I can't help feeling that it is a little bit like cheating.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New years resolution

Another start of a new year. I can't help feeling that I am in some kind of rut. So main new year resolution is to stretch more. My hamstrings seem very tight. I do occasionally do stretches, but I need to stretch more often.




Special Brew and women from Burnley

Last Sunday I got the X43 bus from Manchester to Burnley. It mostly a pretty quiet journey. At the end of the trip I saw some guy walk to the back of the bus and try to chat up two women. It has to be said it was the worst attempt at chatting somebody up that I have ever heard.

He was maybe mid 30s to 40s, but looked a bit rough. He started by asking about his new smart phone, in a way that sounded like he didn't know anything about the phone. We are not talking about  that he had not read the manual, but more that he had stolen it in Manchester.


He then said "he hated it around here", but as one woman said, "there is some really nice country side around here. Also it makes you sounds as though you want to leave here and that is not a good sign for the other person you are trying to have a relationship with."


Then one of the women said "to be honest with you mate. I don't think I would be interested in a man who drinks special brew at the back of the bus." Special brew has the reputation of being drunk by tramps and alcoholics.

Then he really turned on the charm. He told the women that he was cheating on the benefits. And one of the women said that "they were expecting him to say that."

Then for some reason that he had saved 3000 pounds to go travelling, but he had sniffed 2000 pounds of cocaine instead.. This also went down badly, as for some reason the women viewed this as a waste of money. He had obtained the money for compensation from an accident. Perhaps inevitably the accident was whip lash.

He claimed to have travelled a lot and listed off a bunch of places he had worked at. It sounded as though he had been a chef or bar keeper, but the drugs and booze got to him in the end.
I have heard a few tales like this -- mostly from Big issue sellers. They travelled around, but the something goes wrong.

He was not aggressive, but it would have been a more pleasant journey if he had shut the f*ck up.

When I lived in Glasgow I used to occasionally drink one can of special brew. Note that I would only drink one can, because the strength of special brew is 9%. According to wikipedia it was originally brewed for Winston Churchill, so I view it as my patriotic duty to drink it.

I am bit worried. The last couple of times I have been in Burnley I have noticed how friendly the women are. However, I am not sure that they are that friendly to make a distinction between drinking a can of special brew at the back of a bus and a someone drinking a cold can of special brew at the end of a long day at work. At the end of the day 9% is 9%.









On the loudness of the Swans

Like every normal Englishman I hate goths, so I have always been a bit suspicious of a band called the swans, because they always dress in black. But I think they were too angry to be goths. Now that I read the wikipedia entry on the Swans, I see that Gira hates people to head bang.

One of my sister's friend introduced me to the swans while I was at University. I liked one particular song called "God damn the sun" the best. It was a slow almost acoustic number. It took me a long time to track it down in the days before youtube.



The Swans also have a reputation of being a very loud almost drone like band. I have read gig reviews where the sound is painfully loud. I did go and see them play in Edinburgh. The venue was near the railway station and all the bands seemed to play very loud, so quite often I had problems hearing the next day.

Anyway the point of this post is that I really like the new Swans album: The Seer. Somehow I originally liked the slower acoustic stuff of the Swans, but this new album need to be played loud!


Dr Adder

I have just finished reading Dr Adder by K.W. Jeter. This was a pretty crazy novel. It was written in 1972, but finally published in 1984. Even support from science fiction stars such as Philip K. Dick couldn't get it published. It was a pretty crazy novel. much influenced by the counter culture, even to the extent of the hippie distrust of the revolutionaries.

There were drugs, insane aliens, amputees, artificial intelligence, and father to son angst.  There was a fair bit of sex in sewers too. See this review.

I started reading the book when I was travelling, so I found the first part of the book confusing. However, it made more sense when I read it in my flat. At one point in the book Dr Adder has a killing hand added to his body, but he never actually uses the hand to go on a killing spree, as I expected.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dr Who, snowmen and geek obsession

I really enjoyed this year Dr Who Christmas special. It was pretty clever stuff. The main enemy was something called the General Intelligence. There was a reference to the London underground, which made no sense to me. When I read the guardian review, I found out that the snowmen had featured in two earlier Dr Who episodes:The Abominable Snowmen and the web of fear first shown in the late 60s.

Obviously I had to watch the earlier Dr Who episodes, but Itunes doesn't sell many of the first few series of Dr Who. According to wikipedia 5 out of 6 episodes of the web of fear are missing, because the BBC used to wipe earlier episodes. So now people are referencing Dr Who episodes that are lost. How did Moffat use a lost TV episode as the back theme for the 2012 Christmas special? Perhaps the general intelligence is real and they stole the Dr Who show.

Perhaps he watched a fan reconstruction on Youtube. I have also ordered the novel.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Thud

While travelling back and forth to the UK I read Thud by Terry Pratchett. This book featured Mister Vines of the Watch, who is probably my favourite character in the disc world series. The plot is based on Vines trying to stop a war between the trolls and dwarfs. It can be read as a satire on the various religious wars or troubles between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Island.




Sunday, December 23, 2012

The decline of TV in the UK

The media has been under intense scrutiny in the UK. One point has been missed. What the hell happened to the cartoons on Saturday and Sunday morning? In Germany I watch spider man and batman and they revive me from the stresses of the week. In the UK all I watch is cooking programs and reruns of Top Gear on Dave.

I am flying back to the UK for Christmas. I have just noticed that my trip doesn't include a weekend morning. I need my cartoons on Saturday and Sunday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

On green houses and wizards

Last night I had a dream with witches and men of power. Somehow we had captured a wizard who was trying to get a book of power we had. This book was not stored in a library, but stored in a box
in a green house. The witches were my family members.

One of the green house was over the road from our house. I was looking for tools. Then I lost my glasses. I worried about the safety of the tools in the green house, because it would be quiet easy to steal them.

I don't think that J.K Rowling has much to worry about my new children's book about wizards.

Cafe Replay Wuppertal

I have a  certain fasination for bars with weird energy. In Wuppertal I hardly ever drink in pubs or bars, but if I am out I sometime drink two bottles of Beck in Replay coffee, before I get the bus home. It is under

There is either an african or Jamican feel to the bar. They normally play Rega music. The bar is full of groups of young people or single older women.

Last night I was in there. Ther was an attractive women, dressed in black sitting at the bar. She drank a shot of some clear liquid, but then moved on to tea. She seemed like a typical bar fly, because she kept wanting to talk to the barman. She was attractive, but she moved as though she was wasted. Perhaps I should have tried to talk to her.

The video below gives some idea of the bar.



After I had drunk my two beers  I walked home. The bar I normally go fior a piss break was full of very smart people smoking, so I went to another bar . It was a friendly local bar. Some of of the old locals got presents when they left, but not me.



My Raspberry Pi

After waiting for perhaps 4 months I got my Raspberry Pi. Yesterday I actually put all the cables in and turned it on.  This computer is meant to be a cheap machine that children can learn to program using it. They are trying to recreate the zx81 generation. I learned how to program on a zx81, where there was no nasty GUI and programming was what you did with a computer.

I don't want to complain, but the linux came with the vi editor, but not emacs. Do they want to bring more vi users into the world?

Of course given that I have a laptop and desktop running linux already, I am not sure how this will help me. I wouldn't mind doing some electronic control experiments.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world

Yesterday I finished reading Hard Boiled wonderland by Haruki Murakami What a great book. It started off as two separate stories in alternative chapters, but as story unfolds the two stories merge and yet remain separate. The prose is very slick, but the cleverness adds to rather than glosses over the plot.

I am going to try and give a women a present of nail clippers at a dinner date. I still have Norwegian Wood to read.



The world survives, but I am unemployed

I had to do my first phone interview for a job this week. I read a book to make an attempt to not screw it up. One thing the book suggested was to read the newspaper on the day of the interview, just in case the interviewer wants to warm up the interview.

So on the day of the interview I finally focussed on when the end of the world  predicted the end of the Mayan calender. -- just in case I got any jokes about Friday. Unfortunately I started to get worried about the end of the world and my new knowledge was no help in getting a job.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The roots of drone music

Amazon tempted me with the CD of "The roots of Drone" music".  I was surprised to hear someone playing a bag pipe in one of the early tracks. I finally get to own a track by one of John Cale's teachers: La Monte Young.


I can't name many bands that play drone music. But you can try this....

On old statues

On Monday I had to go to another campus to sign a new contract. i rarely go to this campus, mostly because it is up a big hill. At the entrance to the campus there is a bit statue. The statue was very old and there was no explanation as to what it was.

I wonder what people think will happen to a statue as time passes. Below is a picture of a statue that I pass every day when I walk out of the forest on the way to work. Why is the guy playing a guitar. Perhaps he is a woodland imp.





Sunday, December 16, 2012

From flies to toilets via women

There are still a lot of flies in my flat. My trusty fly trap has not wiped them out. They seem to like my bathroom as well. I did wonder why they liked the bathroom, but I now think they are feeding of my shit. This is so nasty, that I have taken to putting the lid down on the toilet.

I have noticed that some women get very upset if the lid of the toilet seat is not kept down. Although in my case there sometimes seems to be an issue with "missing". I have always wondered why women worry so much about the position of toilet seats. I have never asked for the reason, but made some crude guess made on biology. Now perhaps I have found a reason.



Walking in the woods with Scott Walker

I have just been for a ice walk through the forest. My body feels better for the fresh air. I am also happy that the snow and ice has gone from the ground. I was listening to Scott Walker's latest album: Bish Bosh

I love the early Scott Walker, but I also like the later experimental stuff.

On addiction

Addiction is a strange thing. I used to eat a lot of chocolate. I used to eat chocolate biscuits after meals at home. At 11:00 I would go to the vending machine and buy a chocolate bar of some kind.
I no longer eat chocolate in my flay and I eat an apple at 11:00. It was so hard to give up on the chocolate bar at 11:00. For the first couple of days I really wanted that chocolate fix. But now I don't think about it.

It helps that politically I find that sugar and chocolate are pushed on us by big business. Brian Cox the actor is doing an interesting series on the BBC about the various things we are addicted too. One show as about sugar. So politically I want to cut down on my sugar intake, because I feel it is a drug to keep me in control.

I know that I would lose weight if I cut down on the booze. For example there is this article in the guardian. While looking for some wise words from Orwell, I found this  However, the political argument doesn't work so well. Beer is part of the race memory and has been drunk since the dawn of mankind. I wonder how far back beer drinking goes. It could also be linked to developments in the brain.

I am collecting a big wine cellar at the moment.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Toff versus literature

I did intend to work yesterday, but I spent part of the day reading: The Toff and the deadly priest by John Creasey. I did actually also read a book on GPUs at the same time, so it was not entirely a day of pleasure.. The plot was about a vicar having problems with gangsters in the East End of London.
I enjoyed the book, but I am rapidly forgetting the plot.

Creasey wrote a lot of books, so no doubt he wrote it very quickly. I started reading a book by a more literary author. It takes the guy half a chapter to describe a lift journey in an empty, but expensive lift. Umm. Pulp versus art.

No green tea and no love either.

I drink a lot of tea in a day. I normally drink a nasty cheap brand that is close to English tea. However, I sometimes switch to green tea. I have almost run out of tea bags of green tea and I wanted to buy some more.

In the supermarket I kept moving close to a Chinese women. She also wanted some fancy tea and so I decided not to stay in the same isle as as not to freak her out. I didn't want to appear as though I was stalking her. Of course if I was living in the UK, perhaps I would have gone up and started a conversation about tea. I would then have both the green tea and the woman. But the reality is that exactly the same thing would have happened, where ever I was staying.  I am just too timid.

Peace talks in my dreams

I have not had a dream for a long time -- perhaps even two weeks. I woke up about 6:30. I then started to worry about how to untar a file (essentially a work thing.). I turned off the alarm to sleep more.

I then dreamt that there was some kind of fight between two women in a pub. One of the women was a family member. Then the dream switched to some days later. There was a meeting in a park for peace talks. I stayed near the car and looked after a dog (which I enjoyed stroking). I got subpoenaed by a solicitor, because a jukebox was smashed up in the fight. I should have moved away from the car.

I enjoyed petting the dog.

Trying to understand why I like Sanctuary

Last night I finished watching series 2 of Sanctuary on Itunes. The show is about an organisation that trys to protect abnormals  -- creatures with strange powers. Actually it is political correctness gone mad, because they are not abnormals but they are fucking mutants.  The MUTANTS are always escaping or they are trying to get a new mutant.  While we are speaking plainly, the sanctuary is actually a zoo, but with out paying visitors.

I am not sure why I like it. It is a bit like a soap opera, but with monsters. There is some humour, but perhaps I just fancy the Indian chick.

Anyway series 2 ended on such a cliff hanger that I will have to get series 3.








Friday, December 14, 2012

Booze and madness at the Wuppertal Christmas market

It is that time of year to visit the X-mas market in Wuppertal. I wanted to get a hair cut. I usually go to get my hair cut after work. This time I went to the Christmas market after losing most of my hair.
It was below freezing, so I needed warming up. I got some gluwein from a stall. I have to admit I drank two mugs. I think it went to my head, because I felt more drunk that usual at the end of the evening. There were not many people at the stall, but it was very cold.




I spent 15 years convincing my mum that it was a family tradition to go to the pub on Christmas day. This is a good and fun tradition. But there can be bad ttraditions as well. I was just tkinking about food, when I had this sudden urge to look at the animals. When I was at the X-mass market last year, or maybe the year before, one of the people I was with wanted to see the little area with the animals. Personally I just wanted another beer, but I followed the group and saw the little stall of animals, I did feel a little peace. I also had a laugh when the goat was messing around.


After I had got the animal seeing tradition out of the way, I went for some food. I had a fish fried in a bun with some tasty source. Yummy. I then thought I have done enough Christmas stuff and it was time for a beer in a nice warm bar. It took them, about 15 minutes to get around to taking my order, but I was happy to be warm again. I noticed that a knife was at my feet -- pretty useful if there was any kind of attack.


After 1 big beer, 1 small, and a whisky sour later, I went out to another bar. On the way I noticed that somehow the clever German who created the kiosk had added helicopter wings to make it look more traditional.  This freaked me out when I saw it, but that might have been from the whisky sour.



Two more bars for small beers. And I was then I went home on the bus. I must say that this Christmas market idea is a much better way to celebrate Christmas than to go to church. Perhaps one day I will be able to visit the famous X-mas market of Manchester.




Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

I kept seeing the adverts on German TV for the DVD release of the "The Dark Knight Rises". I totally missed that it was out at the cinema. Anyway I rented it from Itunes. It was a really good film. I did think that the cops were a bit stupid to rush at a bunch of people carrying machine guns.
Haven't they read the poem Charge of the light brigade ?



My weight is going up again

I have been a bad boy. I weighed myself last weekend. I was back at 91 Kg. In the summer I was at 88kg, so I have really slipped back. On a more positive front I have been more regularly training with my dumbbells in the last 2 weeks.

I guess it is like the reverse of house prices -- weight can go up as well as down. I probably need to eat less bread. Also I should probably cut down on the beer intake. I don't think I have increased my consumption over the year, but the scales never lie. I also feel so bloated.


Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Iron dream

I am in denial. As my life lurches towards failure, I seek solace in science fiction. I need alternative realities. So on Saturday I read The Iron dream by Norman Spinrad. The book was actually written by Adolf Hitler after he moved to New York in the 1920s after his political work in Germany failed.
I hope this doesn't count as Holocaust denial, because it also denies the existence of the second world war.

It is a fantasy novel about the rise of Feric Jaggar to being the supreme leader and his quest for genetic purity. It is a satire of hidden fascist leanings of many fantasy novels, especially ones with strong muscle bound heroes.

It is out of print and also expensive to buy second hand.



Friday, December 07, 2012

A tour of aniseed flavoured booze.

It is Friday night. Time to party! I find that I am drinking a fair bit of aniseed flavoured spirits. I like to drink Ouzo with cold water. If my fridge didn't suck so much that the icebox could freeze water, I would include ice. I don't like ice with whisky, because I worry that it might explode.
I watched some film on TV with Turkish gangsters . They were all drinking milky Ouzo in a bar.

Next up is Pernod. I have only just started drinking this.It reminds me of Hercule Poirot, but I am not sure that is a good thing. When I was 16, someone told me that they knew someone who drank a bottle of Pernod. The Pernod crystallized and he would get drink when ever he drank water. My young mind thought that was cool. I read that Pernod was created when Absinthe was banned, so it is like Absinthe but with out the danger.

Last but not least is Absinthe. I just love its greeness. I would only drink two small glasses in an evening. because frankly it is evil stuff. Perhaps it sent Poe insane, or maybe not. It was banned in many places, but not in the UK, because it was not drunk by many people there. It looks as though the EU regulations reversed the bans in many countries.

Many famous people, such as Aleister Crowley have drunk Absinthe.
Umm, I now read that it is popular with England's club culture.


!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

On the state of comedy in the UK

I love watching live stand ups on the TV. However, I was getting sick of some UK comics doing more and more extreme jokes. Although I find the joke by Frankie Boyle below funny, people seemed to trying to "be as sick as possible.", with no reason. (I am talking to you Ricky Gervais )  .




On the other hand I have seen comedians whose set seems to be mostly about their children. In some sense this is about real life, but it doesn't really move me. Also I can imagine the kids are pretty unhappy about being used for material, but perhaps they like the money that dad brings in.
I am thinking Michael Bishop -- who I like I might add.

But where did the politics go from comedy? Where is the new Bill Hicks?
I really like Kevin Bridges because he is funny and he also does political jokes. He was recenttly on live at the Apollo. The set below is an example.

The infinity Doctors

I am not sure how I started reading Doctor Who novels. Last weekend I was travelling home and I wanted something not too hard to read. The book: the infinity Doctors had been on my kindle for a while, so it was its turn finally . This novel was published when the series was off the air. I enjoyed the book, although it is set on Dr Who's home planet, and he a person with some power rather than a renegade. There was a  reasonable amount of quantum physics used as part of the story, with black holes and stuff, but then I don't read science fiction to learn about physics.

Perhaps the moral ending was a bit obvious.


Monday, December 03, 2012

My brush with death on the Autobahn.

I have spent the weekend at my mum's house in Burnley. I flew back to Weezse an airport that Ryanair claims is close to Dusseldorf, but it is 1 hour outside. Normally I get the bus to a train station where I get the train to Dusseldorf. This time I thought I would get the bus all the way to Dusseldorf.

Manchester City are playing some where in Germany tomorrow, so the plane was full of Manchester City blokes drinking beer. The coach to Dusseldorf was also full of City fans. They were a bit loud, but  having fun in a good natured way. They were happy when the bus driver sold them beer..

The weather was pretty bad. It was raining and very dark. About 20 minutes outside Dusseldorf, there was a bang, and as I looked at the window I saw that a truck had swerved into us. I didn't even feel a jolt, so titling this post as a near death experience is a bit of exaggeration.

When I was at school my German teacher told us that every thing was more efficient in Germany. When there was a car crash on the autobahn, they would just lift the smashed cars to the side of the road, so that traffic could start to flow again as fast as possible. In reality we waited 20 minutes for any police to show up. Then another 40 minutes of messing around before we started again. As much as it was fun to listen to listen to the banter of the Man City fans, I was happy to be back amongst the German speaking crowd. On the plane I was reading a Dr Who, novel but switched to reading the Republican war on science, just in case I was asked what I was reading. I clearly have esteem problems , if I worry about what Man City fans think about what I am reasding.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Rolling Stones and pain

So I was thinking techno, but my heart was rock and roll. I was reading this article in Guardian about pain killers. There are a number orf interesting or amusing things about the article. I was impressed that an addict used a digital camera to watch their parent open a safe where the pain killers were stored. Also I didn't realize that people stole pain killers at parties. I was finally impressed that a person had a safe installed in himself for his pills -- very Philip K. Dick.

What does pain killers remind you of. It reminds me of the following Rolling Stones song. A policeman  came into school to play us  this song, so wouldn't take LSD and go insane. I am actually depressed that the Stones are still giging. Theye were viewed as old and not so interesting in the 1980s. Did punk not happen?



I like this song though.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rites of spring versus Extrawelt

I am trying my best to love techno, but it is so hard. I was trying too get into this electronic music business. One of the bands playing at the void festival on New Years eve is extrawelt. I do actually like their sound, because it is a sound. Anyway you have to love a band that has a song called "Dark side of my room."




However, I was reading the Guardian and they had a review of a release by a band called rites of spring.  Man that guitar sound draws me in. Having said that I have no idea what emo hard core punk is. Thanks wikipedia, so emo punk is like the Smiths played in a fast hard core manner.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Into the void with Monika Kruse

Do you think I am cool. I have not really enjoyed the last few new years eves. Even on  holiday last year, I didn't manage to stay up to till 12:00. This year I noticed that there was an electronic music festival on 31st December. The festival is called void.

Umm,  my knowledge of electronic music stops at Tangerine Dream, but there is month, Looking at the ine up, there is Monika Kruse


I am not sure about Monika, but will listen more.
Hopefully there will be beer there, rather than bottles of nasty water. Perhaps I will turn into a cool techno dude and pull some e-chick. Or more likely, someone will call me grandad. I am not sure I will be there at the end at 6:00.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Spying on myself with a security camera

So my dream has come true. I now own a security camera. I can access the pictures shown on the camera from my phone. Unfortunately all it shows is me looking at my phone. I then start to get paranoid that hackers can hack into the camera and spy on me.

What exciting things would they see -- mostly just me scratching myself in the lower areas, and an old man reading a kindle.

I would be good if I could control it more remotely, such as being able  to turn it off and on.
Now I want one for my office.....




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Feet of clay

I have so much to do, but I just had a major apathy day. I been feeling depressed, so to cheer my self up I decided to read Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchet. I am not a obsessive fan of the Disc wold novels. I have listened to some great radio adaptions on the BBC. I always though his work was too funny to be take too seriously, but then I read the review of his work in the New Statesman,

The feet of clay was a great funny book, but it was fairly clever politically.
My main trouble with Pratchett is the long white beard.I fucking hate hippies.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scott Walker

What the hell happened to my musical tastes. I love the records that Scott Walker made in the 60s.
It is just so lush and cool.




But why then I am so excited by his new experimental work?

The new stuff is much stranger and weirder. The track below takess a while to get going . This is what happens when you listen to the freakzone every week.

On thoughts of suicide

I am feeling really tired and stressed at the moment. What really is the point of it all? One time I visited Las Vagas with a couple. ON the way we stopped at a huge dam. My friend was very excited to look down, but I was starting to freak out. I kept thinking about throwing myself down. I admit this is a bit weird. There was a philosopher in Ancient Greece who threw himself into a Volcano, because he thought he was a God. In fact I have read The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus, but I was too stupid to understand the arguments for and against suicide

By the magic of the internet I think that the Dam was the Hoover Dam. Doesn't the picture of the Dam make you too want to throw yourself off it?




Don't worry dear reader I have taken steps to cheer my self up. I have purchased Feet Of Clay by Terry Pratchett. That should put a smile on my face -- when I actually get time to read it. If that doesn't help I cam watch this video and think how selfish Phil Ochs was when he left America early and didn't defend it against the rot of Regan.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Why I hate facebook

Some people say I will never use Facebook, I just don't see the point. Then they also worry that their children will undesratnd computer better then them.

Personally, I don't see using Facebook as a big deal, but I have found that I now hate it. There is a certain voyeurism in watching facebook record other peoples lives on Facebook.   Every daya I log onto Facebook to see what "my friends" are doing. At first it was fun to see what other people are doing and eating, but after a while I started to think that everyone else is enjoying themselves more than  me. I wish they would stop posting pictures of all the tasty food they are eating.

What is my life: a can of beans or a plate of mince. Occasionally something different happens to me and I make a post to facebook. I then wait to see if people like my post. Mostly they don't.

I should spend more time in the real world of course. So that is why I have purchased a security camera, and I will move my voyeurism offline.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Alice's restaurant

I saw on the Iplayer that there was a documentary about the song: Alice's Restaurant's by Arlo Gutherie. When I was living in Lexington Kentucky I did go and see Arlo play a set at a Movie Theatre. I enjoyed the gig. He was very funny. I could only remember the chorus of the song, that you "you can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant."

From  the documentary I found that out that it is a tradition to hear the song at Thanksgiving. I didn't realize the song was political.



Monday, November 19, 2012

My career in biology is over before it even started!

Last I dreamed that I was making some biology experiments. I put some big virus in a Perri dish. I covered the Perri dish with some cling film. I knew it was dangerous, but I didn't secure the top very well.  Also there was a criminal locked in the room.

Later I came back into the room. The criminal was gone. The contents of the Perri dish were all of the window. The virus was free. Somehow I knew that the virus had talked to the criminal. The virus infected two people who came into the room and turned them into zombies. Somehow I wasn't too worried.

What does it all mean? Well I am starting to look for jobs outside academic physics. It looks as though my subconscious is telling me not to work in the field of biology.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the stressed Craig

I am trying to do things for a deadline on Friday. This is making me stressed out. I can't read novels or stories. When I am at home, I just watch youtube after lunch while I try to digest the food. I have been watching a lot of old black and white Sherlock Holmes films. Some of the films were made during the second world war, so tend to have some propaganda at the end of the film. Still it is good fun.

 

Hangover blues

Sometime ago a person I worked with told me that "nobody tells you but hangovers get worse as you go beyond 30."  I was older than 30 then, so I didn't really believe him.

I remember that Richard Burton (the actor) said in an interview that one day he got up and was complaining that he felt terrible. His friends told him, that is a hangover and thank god you finally had one, because you are drinking too much. This happened when he was fairly old and he had the reputation of being a big drinker.

Somehow my hangovers are getting worse, even though I am not drinking a huge amount (OK but more than 2 cans of beer though). It used to be that I would begin to feel better again in the afternoon, but now I feel bad throughout the day.

Perhaps ironically, I didn't drink anything last night and went to sleep early. I work up about 4am and started worrying about work, so I didn't sleep well. As I result I feel like shit.

I am a heavy footed Ninja

On Tuesday I walked into a little kiosk to buy some beer and bread rolls. The woman was shocked and surprised to see me enter the door. I don't think that they get so many customers, but still it was a shop.
It was also a bit difficult because she didn't speak any English. I didn't feel like apologizing much.

A similar thing happened to me when I visited Liverpool one time. I was staying in a pub (it had rooms rather than I passed out). After breakfast I went downstairs to the door. The Polish woman who had made breakfast was standing by the door to the street. I just said "excuse me" because she was standing in the door. She turned around with a shocked look on her face and she said "why are you doing this to me?"

I don't think I walk particularly quietly. I am more like an elephant going clump clump as I limp around, but apparently I am quiet enough to sneak up on women working in pubs or shops.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

I didn't like the Prometheus film

So I watched the film Prometheus over the weekend via Itunes. I was aware that I should be excited by the film, because it was a prequel to the Alien films. However I found the first half so boring that I nearly  didn't watch the second half. They try to do some philosophy, but it is done in such a cartoon manner that the words are wasted. There were some good set pieces, but they didn't link with other scenes.

It could have been a much better film if the writing was a bit tighter. The film looked so beautiful in parts and that made my fear for the plot. I have read that Ridley Scott has an opinion about whether Decker in the film Blade Runner is an Android. This is such an uninteresting question that obsess film nerds and the fact that he doesn't know, or even cares about it, tells me he should not be trying to make a philosophical film.






Weekend blues (I hate XML)

This is what I spent the weekend producing.



What is annoying is that I didn't write the code, I was just trying to get it to compile. I thought at some stage the problem was with XML files, but in the end the errors were mine and due to my inexperience in the programming language I was working with. Still I hate XML!




Silence in the city

I like to walk to work, because half the route is through a forest. This is relaxing, even with the millions of dogs and their owners. Last week I came out of the forest  to a little roundabout, with a kiosk on my left. Normally it is not very busy, but last week, one day as I came out of the forest, there was absolute silence. Then I heard two crows squawk their evil song. As I walked further down the road the normal sound of the city returned.


There are too many crows around here.


Julian Cope introduces me to Cold Sun

Julian Cope was a guest on the freakzone radio show  this week. He was talking about his new book:


The book is a collection of review written by Julian about various underground bands. I assume most of the bands are really obscure, but that is more a reflection about the tastes of a modern world. Normally I would complain that there is no kindle edition, but Julian would just say: "hey Craig you just don't get it man. Spend some time offline."


One of the bands he played was Cold Sun and the track was Fall. The sound of Cold Sun totally blew me away, There is a long, but forgotten,  history of cold sun in a blog post.



#
Did Julian really end his piece with a phrase about "the utter simplicity of beer." Thanks Julian.

I have this dream though. I am organising a big national music festival. I ask Julian Cope to organize a small tent with underground bands. He does this, but fro some reason the tabloid press start a witch hunt against him. He also blows his budget. To get revenge,. mostly for spending so much money, I force him to record a pop record again, perhaps with someone like Adel. It is weird how the mind works.





Saturday, November 10, 2012

ORCA versus ORAC. Why Romney lost.

So Mitt Romney was the candidate with business experience. However President Obama has a much better IT strategy which helped to get the vote out.

There is an interesting piece about orca -- the Republican system for getting the vote out. It seems that Romney's experience didn't translate into good management of IT resources. My guess is that his real business experience was in shutting down companies and firing people to keep the shareholders happy.

Frankly. orca is a stupid name for an IT system. For f*cks sake why did they chose such a moronic name. I for one would be confused with ORAC the computer in the Blake's 7 TV series. I would forever be typing in the wrong name. I would have started a campaign to rename ORCA with ORAC. The Republicans would be even more divided. 


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

2012 elections for US presidency -- my final thoughts

So the elections for the Americam president are finally over. I was worried that Romney might win, but then I found that the Republicans were talking up Romney's chances up. The better pollsters were more accurate.
However I still remember the election victory of John Major in the UK in 1992. Before hand all the polls claimed that labour would win. In fact the conservatives remained in power. I think the problem was that people just lied to the pollsters. My mum came into my bedroom, the day after the election. She said "the Tories have won. There is nothing you can do about it." I wasn't sure what she was expecting me to do.




Perhaps I am vindictive, but it is fun to watch videos of the losers. It does also explain why they lost.







Spying on Hannu J. Rajaniemi.

I was reading an old copy of Physics World. There was a short feature about the author Hannu J. Rajaniemi. who wrote the Quantum Thief. I was interested to read that he was a PhD student at Edinburgh studying string theory. I had a quick look at a database to see what he did and found.

It looks as though I was stalking him ,but it is standard to look at a person's publications, if they work in the field of particle physics. One publication with one citation is not so good, but then he has written two novels, which is two more than me.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Skyfall

Last night I went with some people at work to see skyfall -- the latest Bond movie. The film was in English, but with German subtitles. There were a lot of explosions and the acting was good.

I really enjoyed it. I want to see it again, but I can wait until it comes out on DVD.



 



Saturday, November 03, 2012

More on swearing on German

Yesterday I tried to ask a native German speaker about why to say Fuck off in German is "Verpiss dich" I was mostly confused as to why the friendly dich form was used rather than sich. I didn't explain my confusion very well so the person I asked couldn't help me.

After reading the forum post on swearing in German I now understand. There is a form of you (du), which is only meant to used between friends, or with an adult to a child. For strangers I should use the sie form. So it is more rude to say Verpiss dich than Verpiss sich.

Well I am glad that I understand that.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I forgive Friedrich Durrenmatt (for writing the the play the physicists

The BBC Iplayer has a series called The Judge and his Hangman written by  Friedrich Durrenmatt.
The story is about a case solved by a fictional detective called  Barlach. This was a great series.
The detective was on the verge of dying from cancer and the story was great as well.
There is also a documentary called Foreign Bodies about fictional detectives around Europe and the work of Durrenmatt was featured. AS they pointed out in the documentary, there are only two books about Barlach because he is dying of cancer.


By the magic of Amazon I find that Friedrich Durrenmatt also wrote the play "The Physicists". This play really annoyed me when I saw it in Salt Lake City. The play is about a physicists stuck in an insane asylum. It was a typical play by a humanities graduate, who doesn't understand science.
Now that I know about Inspector  Barlach, I forgive Durrenmatt for writing the above play.



Dogma and Disarray

I have finished reading Dogma and Disarray: Cameron at Half-Time by David Walker and Polly Toynbee. Toynbee is a journalist for the Guardian newspaper.  The book summaries all the achievements and errors of the current coalition government. OK, the book is mostly about the errors of Cameron and his pals. The conservatives really hate the state and want to finish the revolution started by that evil Thatcher women.

I bitterly regret not voting in the last election. I am spending too much of my time reading about the chaos of the Cameron government.


A dream about being infected by blood swilling flies

Last night I dreamed that I was a party. I was just starting on my second beer and my mum had told me to slow down a little bit. A person said to me there are lot of flies on my hand. I said "well there are a few flies in the flat." But then I looked down at my hand and there were a lot of flies. I was that there was a sore which was infected by flies.

I then awoke to the alarm. I looked at my hand. There were no flies. I went over to my trusty fly trap and the flies were still stuck there.

On learning to swear in German

So I am trying to get back into learning German. One issue with taking lessons is that they never seem to teach you words you actually know.  For example I have been taught how to ask directions to the main railway station, but I have not been taught how to tell someone to fuck off. I spend more of my life swearing at people than I do looking for railway stations.

So after doing some book research I find that the phrase is: Verpiss dich. I am very disappointed by this German phrase. I am more likely to start laughing if someone tells me " Verpiss dich."

Good English swear words carry a threat of violence and a suggestion that the person who is sworn at has sexual problems.

I now understand why they don't translate the swearing on the TV from English to German. It just wouldn't work. On a German grammar level I don't understand the use of dich -- that seems polite.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

I lust after a glass of Thunderbird wine

Reading the the book "Big Sur" made me sad. Jack Kerouac is slowly sinking under the booze. He can tell his life is falling apart,  but he just can't stop.  He still has power and insight, but I guess he would lose that soon. One time Ginsberg wants him and Kerouac to go and see some hippy Buddhist guy. Jack Kerouac says no, but goes and buys a bottle of thunderbird wine and drinks it out on the street. Later Ginsberg comes back and drinks with Jack.



Having said all that I have become obsessed about drinking a glass of thunderbird wine. I want it in a brown paper bag. Even with the Internet it doesn't look so easy to get hold of it.  I have a bad feeling that I will be at a restaurant in the US with a group of professional people. When the waiter asks "what kind of wine do you want". I will say "Thunderbird wine" and the room will go quiet, and the waiter will say "we don't serve that here. Try the store by the pawn store."

Hey man, Thunderbird wine has introduced me to Townes Van Zandt  I am now going to buy
Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas for 20 Euros, so I will have no money for thunderbird wine.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My fly trap is more fun than my dreams

Between 6 and 7 I had a dream where I worried about make a poster of physics results. My dreams earlier in the night where more interesting, but even after 1 hour I have started to forget them. The earlier dream was more exciting with a criminal being helped by a woman.

It is no wonder that my dreams are lacking imagining. The highlight of my day is counting the number of flies caught on my fly trap fixed to the window. I also worry if it looks as though a fly has escaped and is planning on creating a fly army to flood my flat with flies. There are still flies and gnats in the flat, but I think I am winning the war. A fly trap is a cowards way to kill flies, rather than using an honest fly swatter.

Soon I will be in favor of using poison gas in wars rather than the more ethical drones and nuclear weapons.



Howl -- the film

Last night I watched the film Howl. In my 20s I got into the work of the beat generation. While I lived in Lexington Kentucky I did go to a poetry reading given by  Allen Ginsberg . He was old. He looked like an old safe Uncle. I only remember an anti-smoking poem, that involved putting something other than a cigarette in your mouth.

Th film howl was a bit strange. It was partly an acted interview with the younger  Ginsberg about the poem, at the time of an obscenity trail against his famous poem. There were court scenes with evidence for or against the poem. The film makes decided to also use a lot of cartoons in the film to illustrate the poem. This didn't really work for me. Don't get me wrong, I love cartoons -- particularly good for Saturday morning hangovers.  But the cartoons in Howl trivialised he poem.

I didn't realize that Ginsberg was mentored and switched him onto beat writing by Jack Kerouac. I somehow thought it was the other way around.

In the 50s this must have sounded dangerous. It still sounds passionate, but does not shock.


Friday, October 19, 2012

On losing a dog in a dream

Last night I dreamed that I took a little scottie dog for a walk. It was raining. The dog was really a puppy and it got scared. Fro some reason I walked into a fair ground. There were lots of other animals around and the puppy got more scared. At some point I looked down at the lead and I saw that the puppy had gone. I had a quick  look around, but then went for a coffee with a friend. I did make up some posters that asked people to report the missing dog , but I felt guilty that I had not done enough.

So I am no longer an animal lover....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A dream of Glasgow subway trains

Last night I dreamed that I was running to get on a Glasgow subway train. I got one foot on the door, but I fell off The train moved away. I got a thread from my sweat shirt stuck in the door. I was pulled along. for a couple of meters, before I cut the thread.

Later I was getting a lift in a friends car. I put my bag in the boot. It didn't fit, so I had to bang it in. Unfortunately I manged to destroy some kind of bed. My friend was mad at me for doing that. The foldaway bed was actually owned my somebody else. I offered to pay for it, but my friend was pissed at me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dick Gaughan

Perhaps 15 years ago I remember hearing a folk song by a Scottish singer with a line "do you think the Russian's don't love their children" or something. For a long time I have searched for the song. I thought the singer was Dick Gaughan. I even went to a Gaughan gig when he played a small hall in Burnley. Perhaps I should have asked him there. He was queuing for a drink at the interval.

This evening I did a better web search and found this song. My search is over. However on youtube I found an even better song.



I was creating my top 10

The Toff in New York

Over the weekend I read "The Toff in New York" by John Creasy. The Toff is an English gentleman who is also an amateur detective. He goes over to New York to help a sister of a friend, but very quickly there is murder and kidnapping. There was one scene where he was getting tortured  and he jumps from the roof of a skyscraper to a ledge below. It was exciting stuff.



Dear Radio 6 I still hate prog, but I like Henry Cow

Last night after watching TV for a hour before I went to bed I started to youtube for a bit. Google suggested I might like Henry Cow. Umm I thought, I dimly remember that Henry Cow have been played on the freakzone show and they are a prog band. Stuart Maconie (presenter of the freakzone) is a big fan of prog music. In fact I often that his ambition is to make prog music more main stream again. In fact many of the radio 6 presenters love prog music in a very unhealy way.

I was a bit too young to be too influencced by Punk.  However I do know that prog music is shit in the same intuitive way that I hate Manchester United. If I am honest I am not sure why I hate prog music
I didn't like the keyboard sounds and the very long solos. It just seemed to be played by nasty hippies.

Having said that when I played the youtube video below,  I was blown away. I am a big fan of Phil Ochs anyway. This is a great cover. And it doesn't sound too proggy.


 

So I clicked on another Henry Cow video on you tube.

So the above video is much more proggy and yet I still love it. This is more free jazz than standard commerical prog shit. I know I am getting old, but I can't be seen to like prog. Wikipedia says they are an avant-rock band. Phew so that works for me.


I still fucking hate the band yes.



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sorry the flies have to die!

There are some extreme religious sects that take the sanctity of life very seriously. For example they will not pick fruit from trees to eat, but rather wait until it falls to the ground. Of course this type of view can only be held by a few people.

I like to feel that I am a little bit merciful. So although I had a number of small flies flying around my flat, I didn't immediately try to kill them. OK I tried with a fly swat and some spray. But my mercy was abused. I got tired of watching flies do doing dog fights at night, so I then I though no more Mt Nice Guy. I got a fly trap from an Euro store. As far as I can tell, it is just a piece of transparent sticky paper. I don't think poison is involved. Still not a nice way for a fly to die.

I have stuck the fly trap to a window for three days and I seem to have caught two flies. It looks a bit nasty though, much like putting the severed heads of criminals at the top of city walls.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Geek Manifesto

This evening I just finished reading "The Geek Manifesto" by Mark Henderson. This is an interesting and important book about using "the scientific method" to help with problems with education, health and justice.

I particularly found interesting the section of the book that dealt with the Green movement and their attitude to science. They want to use scientific arguments for climate studies, but not for alternative medicine or nuclear power. The book is a call to use more rational arguments for developing policy.
Of course it would be bad if the world was ruled by technocrats, but somehow it is so inefficient when politicians rearrange things like the NHS, but with very little idea of whether their "reforms" will work.



Friday, October 12, 2012

The machine girl

I watched the film the machine girl yesterday on Itunes. Well, wow it was pretty extreme by any standards of taste. There was a lot of blood. A girl gets a machine gun for an artificial arm and then seeks revenge for the death of her brother.

Still I worry that perhaps  I shouldn't watch too many of this type of film. You know, need to keep sane.




Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The leaves are falling and darkness falls

I can't help feeling I am in a rut. It doesn''t seem like yesterday, when I was complaining about the falling of leaves, but it was a year ago. As I walk to work I start to see leaves on the ground. Soon all the leaves will be on the ground and not on the trees. The view from my window will be just a collection of barren trees. It is so depressing. But it happened last year, so I just have to wait until the spring when the leaves will be back.

On the plus side it is darked in the morning. I don't get woken at 4:00 in the morning by the bright sun.

I am sure that this is carbon copy of a post I wrote last year, but like I said I am in a rut





Power angst!

I slept badly last night. At one point I woke up because in my dream the fuses in my flat had blown. I was just getting up to flip the switch on the fuse box, when I suddenly thought it was unlikely that the fuses had been blown during the night while I am sleeping.

If I try and plug a computer or printer into the power socket too quikly the fuses will blow. This is annoying. But in fact my life seems to be an endless search for power. When I was on holiday I was watching for power sockets, as much as I was checking out the attractive women. When you have a smart phone in your pocket you are always worrying about the charge level. And then there is kindle and my laptop.


Monday, October 08, 2012

Dreams of dogs and inspectors

Last night I dreamned that I met inspector Montalbano at an airport. He seemed happy to see me. He bent forwards to kiss me on the cheek, but saw my English reserve and just shook my hand. We went off for a chat.



Later in the dream I was at my mother's house. She was preparing dinner. An older guy and a younger guy came around to drive me somewhere. I suspected the older guy was queer. I was also looking after a dog, that looked like the picture of a dog pasted to facebook. We sat on a wall near a beach. I worried that I would be late for dinner. Also I didn't have a proper lead to control the dog, which was running around free near a road.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The masters of money

Like everyone else these days I am more interested in the dismal science: economics. So I have enjoyed watching the three TV programs in the series: Masters of Money. Each episode featured the ideas of one famous economist. The three chosen were: Keynes (my hero), Hayek  (a f**king shit), and Marx (I am luke warm on).

Today I watched the episode on Marx. One problem with the left in the 1980s was that you had believe  Marxism. This was a problem for me, because I don't like ideas such as the inevitable will of history.
OK "had" is a bit too strong, but is was one of the main philosophies of the left.
I did try to read some books about it though.  I got depressed that I started to read that Marxism was coming back. However as the program made clear, people are more interested in the problems of Capitalism that Marx found, rather than Marx's ideas for a better society (such that he had any) .

I am sure Hayek was a good man, but his ideas were taken up by a bunch of crazy right wings people, such as Thatcher and Glenn Beck. The amount of information in a TV program can usually be written on a page of A4 paper. What I didn't realize about Hayek was that he was such a hard core fan of markets, that he didn't want the central banks to determine interest rates. in the 80s the govermant used high interest rates to control something, perhaps the money supply. A lot of people lost their houses because of that, and no doubt the same would happen again, if Hayek's ideas were tried.

Umm, so Hayek got a Nobel prize, but Keynes did not. Well the Economics Nobel isn't real anyway.








Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Chinese Maze murders

I spent the afternoon reading The Chinese Maze Murders: A Judge Dee Mystery . I just got hooked into the story.. I had other things I needed to do, but I have got a bit of a cold.

The book was about a new magistrate for a town at the border of China. He comes in with his team and family and to solve a number of crimes and rebellions. The author was an expert in the history of China, so there was a lot of local detail about ancient China, so in some sense I was really reading about history. This is third book I have read about the adventures of Judge Dee, but this was the one I liked the best. It was also the first book of the siries.




Helldriver

If you are tired of zombie films you are tired of life.

I rented from Itunes the film helldriver. My one sentence review of the film is "what the fuck". The film is so extreme. It starts with a guy on a wall decapitating zombies for a little horn on their heads. And things get weirder. There is just so much blood. The actors are playing straight as well. Given this is from Japan, there is non of the cartoon like stuff that there would be in a US film.

There is just something so sexy about a woman holding a chainsaw.



Wednesday, October 03, 2012

No shiny shoes blues

I am not best known for my sense of style in the choice of clothes that I wear. In fact I sometimes get the impression that some people think I am a bit of a slob.  Even If by accident I do wear something stylish I usually get soup all over it. So why bother.

The one place where I try to make an effort is with shoes. I find it relaxing to polish shoes. I got into the  habit when I was in the air training core and I had to wear a uniform. Somebody told me that he thought that women were attracted to men with clean and shiny shoes., but this has never worked for me.

The bad news is that shops don't seem to sell boot polish, but some nasty liquid polish. I am all for progress, but I miss the quiet satisfaction of polishing my shoes with a brush.




Sunday, September 30, 2012

Science fiction novels

I have been in Graz for a couple of days for a meeting. As part of my travel plans I read
100 Must-read Science Fiction Novels by Nick Rennison  and  Stephen Andrews. This book had a good selection of important science fiction novels


One of the books they recommended was Dr Adder by Jeter, but the book looks to be out of print.

Another book I wanted to buy was Iron Dream by Spinrad.

This is an alternative history novel, where Hitler gives up political activity and moves to the US  and starts to write science fiction novels.





Starving in Germany on a Sunday

Ok I exaggerate a little bit. I got back from a trip to Graz Austria at 22:50 last night. But today is Sunday and so there are not many shops open. I had forgotten to get enough food for today, so I only had tinned food. On meal from a tin a day is OK, bu two? Luckily I had many tins of tuna, so I had a  reasonable salid.

It would be so simple if I lived in the UK, because I could have done a quick shop at Tesco.



Gideon's corpse

When I was in Ibiza I purchased "Gideon's Corpse" paperback to read on landing and take off on the journey home, because I had to switch off my kindle then. I also read the book when I was in flight to Graz from Dusseldorf. It was exciting read and I couldn't put it down, much like when I used to not be able to put down an open packet of pringles.

The hero was in principle a  physicist, but he didn't act like one. There was too much explanation for me. What ever happened to "show not tell".  Still there were explosions and guns and a little bit of nuclear physics.